By: Yitzchak Carroll and Yossi Zimilover  | 

Bob Tufts, Syms Professor, Passes Away at 63 after Long Cancer Battle

Former Sy Syms School of Business Professor Robert “Bob” Tufts died on Oct. 4 after a 10-year battle with multiple myeloma cancer. A former major league baseball pitcher, Tufts served as a clinical assistant professor in the Strategy and Entrepreneurship Department and was named the Lillian and William Silber Professor of the Year in the 2017-2018 academic year. He was 63.

After graduating from Princeton University with a degree in economics, Tufts was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 12th round of the 1977 MLB draft. He played in the minor leagues for the Giants as well as the Cincinnati Reds and Kansas City Royals, and made his MLB debut for the Giants in 1981. Tufts also pitched for the Reds for two seasons in the major leagues. During his tenure as a professional athlete, Tufts converted to Judaism.

Following his career as a baseball pitcher, Tufts obtained his MBA from Columbia University and worked in finance on Wall Street for more than 20 years.

Tufts began teaching at Syms in Spring 2011 as an adjunct professor, before moving up to visiting clinical assistant professor in Fall 2016 and finally attaining the rank of clinical assistant professor in Fall 2017. Tufts also taught courses at New York University and Manhattanville College. In addition to teaching, he volunteered as a pitching coach for YU’s men’s baseball team in Spring 2018.

In 2009, as Tufts was preparing to transition into academia, he was tragically diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer. Myeloma is a blood-based cancer affecting plasma cells. Tufts was reported as cancer-free in 2010, and in response to his battle with cancer, co-founded My Life is Worth It, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping fellow cancer patients. 

On the night before his passing, Tuft’s daughter Abigail wrote on Twitter that “he loved, and I mean LOVED, being a Yeshiva Professor. It gave him endless amount of joy & meaning.” 

Photo Caption: Bob Tufts teaching a course at YU.
Photo Credit: YU News